The Practice of Piety

Puritan Devotional Disciplines in Seventeenth-Century New England
Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe
Paperback price: $50
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Publisher: Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: OIEAHC
Cloth/Hardcover Publication Date: 01/1982
Reprint Date: 01/1986
Pages: 320
Paperback ISBN: 9780807815182
Paperback Publication Date: 01/1986
Ebook ISBN: 9781469600048


A moving and vivid account of what it meant to be a Puritan, this account draws on diaries, spiritual biographies, and devotional manuals to explore the daily and weekly ritual and discipline. The devotional movement was at the heart of Puritanism, and the spiritual pilgrimage was the soul’s progress from birth to death to rebirth and eternal glory. Puritan worship brought together college student and illiterate farmer, giving coherence to the community.

About The Author

Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe is Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Seminary, and professor of Christian history at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He is the author of several books, including Charles G. Finney and the Spirit of American Evangelicalism.


The Jamestown Prize (1980)


“Hambrick-Stowe shatters the popular image of neurotic Puritans searching anxiously, almost pathetically, for signs of salvation. The men and women who appear in this book derived joy, excitement, even sensual fulfillment from the contemplation of God.”–T. H. Breen, The Historian

“This handsome, well-written book provides perhaps the most enlightening report we have had on New England Puritanism. It persuasively describes piety as the operating force of the religious phenomenon that has been the subject of so much investigation.”–Everett Emerson, American Literature

“Hambrick-Stowe’s central and stunning achievement in this book is his capacity for describing clearly and even movingly the dynamic of Puritan piety. This book will be widely read and discussed by historians of American religious history, but it ought to be read as well by pastors and lay people. It will tell anyone who delves into it something about themselves and even more about the nature of the Christian life, and it does so in clear, graceful prose.”–Theology Today

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